But in other ways Bird was a radical departure from Pixar's MO, a recipe that had shown no sign of faltering. Not only was he an outsider, Bird brought with him the idea for The Incredibles; all the other movies had been generated and de­veloped from within the company. Bird, who is excitable, passionate, and outspoken, also carried with him more than a little bit of anger about his dealings with the traditional, L.A.-based movie business. There, he says, many of his movie projects have languished. "They're stuck at various studios now, kind of like flies to flypaper. I saw them as magical, wonderful things that weren't allowed to happen for the most mundane reasons, like an executive I had been working with got canned and therefore all the things he had been involved with were now bad ideas," he says. "It was all this bureaucratic [nonsense]."

A lot of companies might balk at the prospect of bringing in someone with undeniable talent who also had the potential to ruffle feathers and upset a very successful status quo. Not Ed Catmull. In fact, in every position that gets filled at Pixar, Catmull says he's looking for people, like Bird, who want to come in and try something new and different. "You really need to have people with different ideas who do things differently than you would," he says. "In all respects, we are looking for people who are better than we are, who do things that we don't do. You aren't looking for somebody who echoes what you're going to say."